Treat your wife with understanding as you live together… Sympathize with each other. Love each other… Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when [your spouse] insults you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. 1 Peter 3
It would seem that nothing would assault the bond of marriage with more ferocity than the death of a child. The shock, the trauma, the pain, the anxiety, the depression- they all tear into the fabric of marriage.
But here we stand one year past the death of our son, together. My husband and I stand together. We are surviving and you can too.
1. Don’t blame each other.
Your spouse lost a child too. My husband and I both lost our son that night. There is no blame to be cast.
When Azaiah died I was so afraid my husband would say, “Where were you? What were you doing? Why weren’t you watching him? Why didn’t you save him?” But he didn’t. He didn’t blame me. And I didn’t blame him. We both made a conscious decision to free each other of guilt. Guilt had no place there.
2. Be together.
As the shock lessened and the pain of grief settled in, a powerful force pulled me to withdraw. I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to be touched. I wanted to climb down into a hole, into darkness. But I didn’t.
We went out to breakfast together. We drove around together. We ate dinner together. We went to bed together. We sat together. We made a point to just be together.
3. Be alone.
Give each other space to be alone when you need it. Respect each others’ time to retreat and grieve personally.
In the first few weeks after Azaiah died I just needed time to be. I needed time to talk to God. I needed time to lay in my bed with no expectation to get up. I needed to go to a different world in my mind. I needed to be free to grieve however the moment called me grieve.
My husband needed time to be as well. He needed time to in his office and listen to his music. He needed time to weep. He needed time to busy his hands. He needed time to reconcile it all with God.
Don’t stop hugging. Don’t stop holding hands. Don’t stop kissing each other. Keep touching each other giving gentle reminders that you are present, that you love each other and that you aren’t going anywhere.
5. Remember your vows.
For better or worse… til death do us part. Losing a child is definitely the worst. It has taken us places we never wanted to go. But we did. And we made a promise to each other 16 years ago to stay. We made a commitment to see each other through. I can’t imagine magnifying the pain by betraying those vows now. This is precisely the moment that we were made for. We were made stick together no matter what.
Every morning I wake up and see my husband laying beside me I am reminded that we have been through a lot together and we are still together. We have overcome insecurities. We have overcome hurt. We have overcome sin. And praise to the resurrected Christ, we have overcome death.
Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. 2 Cor. 2:7